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Monday, September 28, 2015

On the Abortion, Pro-life, and Pro-choice Debate: Some Questions

So you think abortion is murder do you? 

If so, then this post is for you! 

And I have some serious questions that I need to ask you regarding abortion.

You say abortion is the deliberate taking of a helpless life, and that it equates to murder.

This suggests to me that you take "life" to be sacred, correct? (Sanctity of life and all that jazz.)

If so, let me ask you some questions that we must resolve before I take your claim serious.

1. Do you eat meat? Or isn't animal life sacred? If not, why not? Aren't animals part of God's creation just as humans are?

2. For that matter, how does one go about determining what is and isn't sacred?

3. You say abortion equates to murder. This is a legal term. I am curious, at what point do you consider a collection of living cells to become a "life" unto itself? 

4. Do you think it's at conception? 

5. If so, would it still be murder to abort if the egg and the sperm haven't even fused together yet? Is this still a "life" or still just an collection of independent living cells, an egg and a sperm?

6. If it's still murder to kill an independent egg or sperm, does that make masturbation a criminal offense? 

7. More importantly, since you are making abortion a political issue, at what point do you give legal rights to an unborn fetus?

8. Do you feel these legal rights should be limited by the courts as is the law with most children for the same reasons? Or do you feel the rights of the unborn fetus supersede the mother's rights and ought to be uninfringible? 

9. If you think all abortions are evil, I'm assuming you do since you call it murder, then do you think forcing a woman to have a birth is any less evil? If not, why not?

10. Isn't treating women like property, or mere incubators, let alone telling them they are public property and that they cannot deny a forced birth, just as evil? 

I think so. I don't see how a person can square forcing women to give birth, which is a kind of slavery (ownership over a woman) and being anti-abortion (which you say you find to be a form of murder).

Both slavery and murder are outlawed and universally acknowledged to be a couple of the worst kinds of evils. Replacing one with the other doesn't do women justice.

11. Are you seriously going to say there are no medical reasons or situations that would ever necessitate the need for abortion? 

What about a severe birth defect like anencephaly -- being born without a brain, can you honestly claim this is not reason to show mercy and prevent the uneeded suffering of the mother and the child? 

12. Or do you think increasing the suffering of the mother and her child is less evil than abortion? Would the God you believe in, since you say life is sacred, see your selfish reasons to compound their suffering as just, merciful, or even kind? If not, do you still think there are no reasons to allow abortion?

13. If denying a merciful abortion and forcing unimaginable suffering onto others is not just as evil in your eyes as genuine murder (which you claim abortion to be), why not?  

14. Do you think individualism complicates legal concerns any? How about the autonomy over self? Doesn't a woman have the right to govern her own body? 

15. Are you saying an unborn fetus owns realstate within an autonomous woman? How do we not have a conflict of interests in where you are granting individuality to two biological entities and then finding a legal way to grant one set of legal protections (as an individual) to one but not the other?

16. If we are talking about the mother's womb as property, and saying the unborn fetus has legal rights of ownership to that womb, are you claiming the fetus is co-owner of a woman's body and body space?

17. How does making it about property benefit the mother? Don't you have to strip her of her individuality and autonomy and limit her legal status and protections before you can claim the baby has rights that supersede hers?

18. How does being anti-abortion seek to help women? 

19. Do you support the death penalty? If so, then how can you claim life is sacred?

20. Do you support enlistment into the military / armed services / terrorism, etc. If not, then how can you say life is sacred?


Okay, now that I've asked my questions, if you still have time, I'd like to share my onw personal views here on why I think pro-choice is not a strong position and why anti-abortion is demonstrably irrational.

Although I understand the moral concerns driving the pro-life position, I don't find it very realistic. Hopeful, sure. Realistic though? Hardly. 

You see, it very rarely ever attempts to adequately address any of these above questions, which it would have to do in order to be meaningful or at all pragmatically beneficial to women, let alone the unborn fetuses it is so concerned about. 

In my opinion, the anti-abortion stance suffers even worse from being unrealistic. Whereas I see valid philosophical justifications for being pro-life (after all, we could say you are a deeply compassionate person who just doesn't want to see death and suffering of innocent life), I see no such justification for being anti-abortion. 

They are not one in the same, mind you.

The ethical consequences of being pro-life or pro-choice can be talked about on a philosophical level apart from the politics. I would even go as far as to say it is a discussion worth having, at least as far as it is a good introduction to bioethics and having to formulate arguments to try and rebut and defend.

Actually separating the politics from pro-life and the ethical concerns contained therein is another matter entirely, however. 

But the thing to note here is that taking an anti-abortion stance is strictly a political move, and completely fails to address any and all of the ethical concerns. Therefore, I hold it as an uncritical emotional reaction, and one that is commonly based on fallacious information.

Anti-abortion is also anti-woman, and that's probably the most damning thing, since if we wanted less abortions we'd have to actively prevent policies and viewpoints that take the anti-woman stance. Only when we make things better for women, such as better access to affordable healthcare (especially in economically downtrodden areas) can we begin to deter the rise of abortions and limit them to what is manageable and necessary.

As such, the very fact that anti-abortion is anti-woman necessitates reason to be against the anti-abortion position.

I'm sorry, but it's my strong opinion that claiming abortion is murder is a demonstrably wrong claim, and also a bit callous toward all the women who have had to have abortions for VALID medical reasons. 

"At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and at 2008 abortion rates, one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45.[4,5]"

Half of American women!!!

Three out of ten women (in America alone) will have already had abortions by their forties!!!

Are all these women murders? Are their doctors murderers? The nurses? The hospital staff? 

I hope we can all agree that being anti-abortion and equating it with murder simply is not a rational point of view. Nor is it very reasonable. My hope is to find reasonable answers to all these questions that can satisfy the conditions to make pro-life a valid position worthy of promoting. But the way I see it, it simply isn't because it fails to address so many of the questions and concerns it would need to in order to be a realistic answer to abortion.

We do not live in a perfect world. Humans are not the epitome of prefect biological organisms. We have faulty bodies with an even faultier make up which requires us to be more realistic. If there are pragmatic answers to be had, banning abortion is simply not one of them.

The Dangers of Being Funny: On Épater Les Bourgeois and Black Humor

épater  (épater les bourgeois)
eɪˈpateɪ, French epate/verb
Meaning: to shock people who have attitudes or views perceived as conventional or complacent.

Black Comedy
A black comedy (or dark comedy) is a comic work that employs farce and morbid humor, which, in its simplest form, is humor that makes light of subject matter usually considered taboo. Black humor corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor. Black comedy is often controversial due to its subject matter.

I was just thinking how funny I was being (trying to be might be more accurate) when, to my surprise, a person took great offense at my joke.

It wasn't that they didn't get the joke. They got it. They were just deeply offended by it. But it wasn't a racist, xenophobic, or homophobic joke. It really wasn't even that much of a judgmental joke. It was just a couple of uncommon styles of humor. Although there is room to debate whether these styles of humor are in good taste, but as with all subjective considerations, I'll leave that up to you to decide.

It all began in a Facebook post by a friend of mine talking about natural miscarriages and his take on them being that they were nature's abortion. He asked why would a loving God allow for that sort of thing? He phrased it in a way that called out religious zealots who preach pro-life anti-abortion messages with hyperbolic outrage yet seem to not give one hoot about nature's abortion, which is statistically devastating and would technically denote an evil or indifferent God rather than a loving one.

Just to lighten the mood, I chimed in saying that, as an atheist, I eat babies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So not all babies are being wasted. (My attempt at some black humor)

I even put one of these -->  :p  to let the more dense readers know it was a joke.

What happened next was, well, predictable.

This person's religious relative jumped in going on ad naseum about how abortion was murder and that all aborted fetuses go straight into the arms of Jesus to be with God.

Naturally, I couldn't bite my tongue. But not wanting it to become a political debate, I tried for humor. So, I mentioned something about all this being good news, and that we should abort ALL the babies -- because that way they'd be happier, being with God and all. (My version of épater humor)

Needless to say, my friend and I were cracking up. But his religious relative was deeply offended and assumed we were being callous.

But were we?

I don't think so. Callous would be me telling her to shut it and keep her goddamn religious nonsense to herself. It would be me telling her to go get an education. It would me telling her she was wrong for no other reason that an anti-abortion stance is and anti-woman stance and as a woman she's a bigot without so much as taking the time to explain why that is.

So I decided to go for one more attempt at being funny instead.

It sort of backfired. And she totally didn't get why I thought it was goddamn funny to kill all the babies.

Needless to say, it was a joke.

I don't believe anything of the sort.

But it's funny because it is so outlandish and absurd that anyone who actually took it seriously would have to be either a complete moron or completely insane. Which is also kind of funny.

It's funny because it challenges the religious notion that unborn fetuses have souls and, like all dogs, will go to heaven.

It's funny because it challenges the notion that abortion is murder with the alternative of merciful infanticide, which is also murder (technically speaking), but which makes moral sense under their religious views and is actually a much better option because the fetus would just go straight to heaven to be with God and would never need to suffer a single second while on earth because, technically speaking, the baby was never born in the first place.

It's also funny, because if you think about it, if we did decide to kill all unborn babies before, you know, they were actually born then atheists everywhere would starve to death and the religious would rejoice! (Oops, there I go trying to be funny again.)

It seems to me that black (dark) humor and épater les bourgeois humor are two types of humor many people just don't seem to get nor appreciate very much.

At least, not to the same degree I seem to enjoy them.

Maybe I'm just strange? Or maybe I have learned to appreciate a wider range of styles of humor because I have traveled abroad extensively and experienced the way different cultures and societies have view things and share a wide range of understandings regarding what constitute good and bad humor.

Shows like South Park and Family Guy have used both styles of humor to great effect. But outside of a couple of animated cartoons meant for cheap entertainment, it seems people take grave offense at the usage of épater and black humor.

Personally, I enjoy seeing people squirm with discomfort as they try to process why a joke is offensive or troubling to them.  I don't believe in being mean or offensive simply for the sake of being mean and offensive though, but there is a time and place for these styles of humor, although that too may be a subjective judgement. 


The American stand-up comedian Louis C.K. has thrown in épater humor in many of his comedy shows just to laugh at the discomfort it causes his audience. Always cracks me up.

Louis C.K.'s "But Maybe..." monologue uses épater humor to great effect.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Why I'm a Rationalist

I've only been a rationalist for about 6 years now (give or take a year of deep reflection and questioning). But I've come to find that a strong and steady rationalism almost always negates superstition, and good critical thinking skills make requisite the challenge for me to find valid reasons for believing in something other than it being something that is ubiquitous among society and thus acceptable to believe for no other reasons.

Striving toward being more rational has not always been easy. It has often made me the black sheep, the odd duck out, or even the lone wolf, depending on the context and the type of issues I am contending with. It has forced me to take the contrarian position more times than I can count. It has caused me to side with unpopular minority views which have, in turn, made me unpopular with others. But becoming a rationalist has improved my life by noteworthy and substantial leaps and bounds over what I used to be--a superstitious, uncritical, know-it-all know-nothing, boob.

But I'm glad I'm no longer that guy. I never want to go back to being that guy. That guy didn't know shit. And, well, the truth is I'm extremely proud to be able to teach my kids good critical thinking skills and the values of rationalism rather than merely feeding them superstition and telling them to accept everything as I do just because that's the so-called "right way."

As the Buddha once avowed, and I'm paraphrasing, you can't teach people what truth is, you can only show them how to come to the truth on their own. And, believe you me, that requires good critical thinking skills and a call to rational thought.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why I'm an Anti-Theist and an Atheist (Clash of Ideologies)

Why I'm an Anti-Theist and an Atheist
Previously under the title: Clash of Ideologies 

I am an anti-theist as well as an atheist because I think religions are more pernicious than polite, and they place primitive ideologies above compassionate ones. The trick is, almost every religion places "love" at the top of their list of questionable and/or malevolent teachings so they can always claim (lie) about their faith being one of love. This vexes me to no end.

Let me use Islam as an example to stress my meaning, although I am sure you shall find it true of most religions that contain totalitarian views and calls to theocracy over democracy. Here we have a religion where its adherents, otherwise good people, are raised to believe they will free themselves by building a caliphate, where the supreme ruler of the global empire would not be a Nazi fuhrer or communist general secretary but a theocrat ruling with total power in accordance with the Koran and Sharia.

If such people of faith should face persecution for holding such dogmatic beliefs, or attempting to force others to adhere to such beliefs, they will be the first to cry intolerance and Islamaphobia. This is the get out of jail free card that many religious believers cling to with unrelenting grip like a cat deathly afraid of bath water. 

"Intolerance!" they cry. "Persecution!" they lament. Caterwauling in such a way they force us into the uncomfortable position of having to explain to to them that being intolerant of their intolerance isn't, in itself, intolerant -- and that this is a problem that they have created for themselves in the first place by being so intolerant of others and other ways of thinking and being that they caused civil society to retract from them and rebel against the imposition of their unjust religious ideologies. Yes, it is a rejection of their religious position, and for good reason!

But it's not just Islam that has this trouble with ideas of freedom, independence, and secular law in free countries with liberal democracies that balance the powers of government and allow for things like women's rights, gay rights, and rights for minorities.

Christian belief and breed the same mental illness as the most unegalitarian Islamic oligarchies. For example, consider the recent hubbub regarding Kim Davis. George Takei, the actor and gay rights activist, said it best when he stated: 

"This woman is no hero to be celebrated. She broke her oath to uphold the Constitution and defied a court order so she could deny government services to couples who are legally entitled to be married. She is entitled to hold her religious beliefs, but not to impose those beliefs on others. If she had denied marriage certificates to an interracial couple, would people cheer her? Would presidential candidates flock to her side? In our society, we obey civil laws, not religious ones. To suggest otherwise is, simply put, entirely un-American."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

And you see, this is the problem with modern theocratic based ideologies inherent to the core teachings of religions like Christianity and Islam.

If you wonder why I am also an anti-theist on top of my atheism, it is because I feel there is a war of ideologies going on here, and I just happen to believe, unlike the majority of Muslims and Christians, among some other we could name, that the only way we can truly free ourselves is not by adhering to any religious Holy law (which I view as entirely man-made laws, and usually poorly formulated at that), but by opening our hearts to love, loving one another. Fully. And through the act of opening our minds to understanding, and thereby omitting the ignorance induced xenophia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and so on in like fashion, gradually improving upon our moral standards and behaviors, both as individuals and as a society overall. 

Holy laws come to us from the lips of diviners and an elect Priestcraft who seek to instill the opposite of tolerance and open minded acceptance by restricting the wide range of moral values we could find outside of religion by limited morality to a very narrow definition of what that religions provides.

They label and mark anything that doesn't fall under their umbrella of faith a vile sin and something to be ashamed of. But the shame is all theirs for their lack of compassion and their small mindedness.

Now you may think your religion isn't like that. You may even practice a benign form of a traditionally more malevolent or imposing faith. You can be complacent and choose to ignore the bad elements of your religious belief system. I cannot be so dispassionate when it comes to unfair and unjust beliefs. As a skeptic, I have a hard time taking things at face value, for what they are. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I always need to peel back the layers and see what's going on underneath. Often times, I don't like what I see. 

I believe we must teach it is okay to love despite what any Holy writ or law might say. Even sometimes despite what it says. Then we must teach that it is okay to do away with religious teachings and maybe even entire religions that teach anything other than love and open mindedness. Trim the fat, so to speak. And we must make clear that it is perfectly fine to despise religions that fail to do away with their pernicious attitudes and prejudiced teachings when they continue to teach hate and instill ignorance bread intolerance. And whether your are a person of deep faith, or an atheist like me, I think that's something we can all agree on. 




My friend Jennelicus Buttersworth (not her real name) chimed in and left this post on my FB page):


It would be interesting for you to look at faith traditions that are explicitly not fundamentalist literalists. One of the pastors who serves my church is an Atheist Presbyterian and we've had a lot of interesting conversations about where Calvin likely ended up in his theology around predestination and heaven/hell. 

With Christianity potentially being more about yearning and working for justice period and not actually being about the divine comedy that others think it to be. Presbyterians actually don't believe in a physical hell per say. 

One thing I would say is that a lot of what you say is based upon your experience growing up in a patriarchal, fundamentalist community. Which, I obviously also grew up in. Looking at non-literalist faith traditions could help to create a different frame of reference. 

Now, there is that aspect of faith which isn't actually logical despite what others say and is more about a personal relationship with the divine. But considering folks think mainline Protestants who are non-literal are godless heretics, it might not be interesting to you.


I rather thought her comments were quite good. They offered food for thought and also sort of got at something else that has bothered me about this accommodation need to deflect what I see as well placed and meaningful criticisms by whitewashing it with the claim that not all religion is bad. Naturally, any thoughtful person will recognize there is both good in bad in every ideology, and will go on to add that not all ideologies are created equal. And this goes for religions as well.

At any rate, here are my additional responses:


Good points Jennelicus Buttersworth, and I appreciate your comments.

Without meaning to sound too much like a know-it-all, I must confess, I actually have studied Christianity rather in detail for the better part of a decade now. I am well aware of the other varieties of Christian faith. Including the more benign and even positive forms.

I applaud these friendly forms of Christian for their peaceful and more tolerant views and for breaking away from the fundamental teachings of the faith because they find certain elements of their classical theology problematic or morally troubling.

In fact, one of my favorite Christian speakers and writers is John Shelby Spong. I think every Christian should make his works required reading.

But just as you took issue with my attempt to find a more diplomatic hashtag for "blacklivesmatter" because it inadvertently whitewashed the immediate message and concerns that plague black lives / people today, and which after giving some more thought about I took down because my message --although not a bad one-- was basically running interference with a more worthy message, I would cite a similar reason for why more mundane forms of Christianity, although much more humanely improved, work to whitewash the negative effects of the more fundamentalist and legalistic forms of the faith they evolved out of.

You see, the act of citing that there are good forms of Christianity as a response to my I criticizing the bad whitewashes these bad forms and paints Christianity as a whole as more likable than it really is. It seeks to find an accommodationalist view which can tolerate Christianity as long as something positive can be found in it to counterbalance all the harm and negative effects I think it has.

I can largely agree with your message, which is a fine one, and I also agree with you that there are good forms of many religions and benevolent ways of interpreting and practicing almost any faith, but even so, I find that these are usually the minority views being expressed out of the compassion and empathy of the individual rather than expressly as an article or feature of the faith. 

The majority view does not seek to improve upon itself, even as it may inherently be in need of vast improvement, because there is usually no view greater to challenge its faults or to point out its shortcomings that would be taken seriously. 

And those within the faith face a whole litany of other challenges that go along with the exclusivity of hierarchical forms of conservative religions. Religions which uses community and like-mindedness to form loyalty and allegiance, whereby to criticize it would be viewed by the faithful as a kind of betrayal and which would likely end in the silencing of the critic either through being ostracized or blackmailed with peer pressure and, often enough, harassment. People who criticize faith, no matter how innocuous it might seem, are called out as blasphemers and are frequently labeled an infidel or heretic.

Granted, more liberal faiths, as the kind you sited, are more accommodating of liberal views. Views which, under the banner of a more conservative faith, would be deemed dangerously heretical if not entirely treacherous forms of blasphemy. But even Presbyterians and Episcopalians still have a doctrinal line they dare not cross without relinquishing the claim to, under no certain circumstances, being "Christian."

Universalism avoids this, to some extent, by being almost wholly inclusive. It allows all beliefs to be held in equal value. But it may lose something in the way of becoming too accommodating in certain circumstances. That is, it may actually overlook valid criticisms and concerns by trying to accommodate everyone's feelings regarding their cherished beliefs or overlook an hotly debated issue in the name of accomodationalism rather than sticking to its tenet to engage in the responsible pursuit of truth and meaning. 

This, I suppose, is one danger of hyper-liberalism, that it muddies the conversation of what matters by saying everything matters equally, and I don't believe this to be a valid claim. On the other hand, hyper conservativism is just as damaging because it breeds fundamentalism by deeming only one sets of values and beliefs sacred and inviolable.

Mainstream Protestants, Evangelicals, Baptists, and Catholics are still the dominant form of Christianity and comprise the basis of mainstream Christian thought in America and elsewhere. If I criticize harmful elements of the majority, I really don't think that the friendlier forms of the minority faiths have to fear the same criticisms. In fact, usually they avoid the criticism altogether by not following blindly along with the majority and breaking free of the very religious negativity and harmfulness which I am bent on exposing.

And, it goes without saying that these friendlier denominations are hardly the majority. In fact, Presbyterian, Episcopal/Anglican Communion, or even Universalist Unitarians are all the end result of a long process of weeding out the negative or problematic elements of the Christian faith as traditionally understood and practice; and taking strides together toward a more humanistic worldview, just like I call for here.

I think instead of apologizing for the intolerance of the majority and then citing that there is a friendlier minority, we should condemn the majority for their intolerance and ask them directly why they cannot be more like the minority groups which are, by most accounts, far superior.

Of course, such a pressure can only come from the outside of religion, because as you know the majority view does not see itself as being in the wrong and so has no reason to check or improve itself. 

At the same time, most mainstream Christian denominations, as you pointed out, view the smaller groups as heretical and will often seek to disenfranchise popular speakers or voices from the minority group by labeling them heretics, or more recently, quacks and crackpots who are not true to the faith all the while giving everyone else a bad name for not being religious enough. That kind of mentality bothers me greatly. The thinking that your religion will actually improve others because you find benefit in it and it may have caused you improvement and thereby want to force it on everyone I find highly offensive. If it works for you, great. But leave it at that. I don't want to hear how it ought to work for me as well. I know what does and doesn't work for me, and if your religion was really that good, I'd be religious too -- at least, that's my thinking. The fact that I am highly irreligious speaks for itself.

What I supply here in my criticism is a place upon the scale where we raise the bar to a higher standard.

I am glad there are peaceful Christian groups. My understanding their historical progress or the reasons for their theological deviations will not improve the intolerance of the majority element. Which is why such criticisms are necessary, I find.

I hope this all makes sense. I really do see your point, but I just don't think it applies to what I am attempting whenever I choose to write an exacting polemical against the general forms of majority religion.


My next comment isn't directly related to my criticism of organized religion, but attempts to contrast two competing forms of organized religion, thereby stressing my point that not all religions are created equal.


On another note, I think we could springboard off of what you said and say that not all religions are created equal. I have lived in a largely secular Buddhist country for years and have studied Buddhism and Buddhist teachings to an extent, and even within Buddhism we find there are various competing denominations and beliefs. But the religion itself is hardly ever aggressive or damaging. At least, not where the majority elements are concerned. It promotes a peaceful ideology and stresses harmony and friendly co-existence with all living things. It seeks meditation and self reflection, and leads to a deeper understanding of the world around us and, perhaps more importantly, a deeper understanding of our very selves.

Granted, there are harmful extremist offshoots of Buddhism even, such as the Myanmar monks and their strange attempt to blend social and political agendas and messages into the lining of Buddhist faith, but aside from this small fringe group, Buddhism is a peaceful ideology and one of the best religions you could practice if you cared more about open mindedness and love than following any corrective guidelines to ensuring a particular brand of salvation.

One might say I have myself been influenced by such teachings, because I would rather have enlightenment than salvation.

Although, under the banner of Buddhist faith, it could be said they are one and the same. But under Christianity, enlightenment would mean we would, by the very nature of enlightenment, know everything God does. It is to become God, and this is a heresy under the Christian view and thus almost universally condemned within Christianity.

Personally, I just don't get such a backward notion -- the belief that we should never under any circumstances challenge God's supremacy by stepping up to his plane and being equals alongside him. It is a slave like mentality that wishes to be subservient and which finds the desire for true enlightenment an evil deserving punishment and the expulsion from Eden. Which is why I inherently rebel against it.

Now, Christianity could have all the good teachings in the world, but I would still despise it for putting a Lord over me and telling me I could only think in this way while denying me the right to become enlightened because it would be a threat to God's supremacy over me.

Not that I entertain delusions of wanting to be God or anything, but to deny the very right to my own autonomy and put limits on the terms of my own enlightenment, or imply that we could only achieve some small semblance of this grace through his help and that without it I am forever lost, seems rather primitive in comparison to Buddhism which calls us to expand our minds (which is everyone's right) and does not seek to limit them to the offerings placed before the feet of a king to lord over us.

No, I'm afraid Christianity looks too much like a small little peevish kingdom run by impish people with overly big heads and monstrous egos all caught up in a bidding war to gain the favor of a tyrant in the sky -- a God of their own sick imagining, meanwhile being too feeble minded or deluded, if not both, to realize it is merely a reflection of themselves they are attempting to crown and worship.

Anything that comes out of this way of thinking can never be wholly good in my estimation. Even if it does incorporate the better teachings to love one another. The best form of Christianity, in my opinion, is one which isn't particularly Christian.

The more one can break away from the Christian orthodox worldview, the freer it becomes and the more free they will be both mentally and spiritually. The less of a core ideology predicated on salvation theology it adheres to the less people have to jump through hoops to gain favors or rewards and the less one fears punishment for their failure to abide by such an ideological straitjacket.

The less Christian any particular Christian practice is the more humane it looks. The more like secular humanism it becomes. And then there comes a point where we must ask ourselves, why even require the need to expressly identify as a Christian anymore?

As you know, after shedding the innately Christian elements of my religious faith, including my belief in God, I didn't stop being a good person. I didn't lose my moral values or my ability to be compassionate and have empathy for others. Rather, I found that all the good things contained in Christianity exist outside of it as well.

And, well, I find that is enough for me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Missing Christopher Hitchens

Some days I just deeply miss Christopher Hitchens. Of the so-called "New Atheists" he was by far my favorite. Unlike the rest of the Four Horsemen, to which he was lumped in with, he was the only true polymath. Richard Dawkins was the science expert, Sam Harris was the rhetorician, Daniel C. Dennett was the philosopher, but none of them could hold a candle to Hitchens and his brilliance, his eloquence, and his charming roguishness. 

There are many reasons I loved "The Hitch." I loved his contrarian attitude, I loved how he dominated a discourse and would talk over talking heads to stress a point. I love the fact that he never backed down from his position in a discussion. I loved how he had the British way of taking the piss out of our American sentiments, and I loved that he could do it with bravado and with great tenacity. 

Like the whiskey he so loved, Christopher Hitchens was extremely charismatic and always went down smooth. But many couldn't handle him and found, just like the liquor, he burned too much to be palatable. But I for one grew to prefer Hitchens to all the rest of the atheist orators and debaters and his domineering presence and boldness added to his particular appeal. 

I don't think he'll likely be ever be replaced. At least not in my lifetime. I doubt anyone will be able to match his appeal, but at least we are lucky enough to live in an age where his videos and writing can be easily accessible. 

Although I didn't agree with Hitchens on every point he ever made, I really liked the way he spoke and the way he phrased things. I felt that, more than once, he really articulated what I was thinking or feeling in such a way that made me want to repeat it to everyone because I knew I could never say it better than he did. 

Perhaps my favorite Christopher Hitchens moment was when he dropped the "F" bomb during a live interview on a Christian radio show. I forget the name of the show, but during a discussion on morality they had asked him a personal question about his sex life, something along the lines of whether or not he'd ever cheated on his wife, and he flat out said, "That's none of your fucking business."

His sudden use of the word, on a family Christian radio show, left the host speechless. After an awkward silence, the host fumbled for what to say next as he simultaneously tried to change the subject while apologizing to his listeners.

It was awesome.

And the thing was...Christopher Hitchens was right. It was none of their fucking business. 

Ever since that moment, I knew Hitchens and I were kindred spirits. 

Do you have a favorite Christopher Hitchens moment? If so, feel free to share it in the comments section below. Cheers!

Funny Image

I found this image online searching for quotes to share for the (infrequent) quote of the day (I know it's an oxymoron, whatever). It made me laugh for a few reasons. 

First, I have a lot of uber religious family and friends. I grew up extremely religious and I see such Jesus posts all the time followed by calls for prayers or a thousand and one needless amens for trivial things. 

I see posts in my Facebook feed daily saying things like: Jesus lives! God is good! God is real! God is faithful! God heals! and many more followed by amens ad absurdum.

And, like the picture alludes to, I have had people outraged by my irreligious or anti-theists posts. I mean, if you don't like my personal views you don't have to read the whole thing, get irate over it, leave a nasty comment, and then threaten to block me. How about not read it if it bothers you so much?

Or, better yet, if you are worried about finding differing points of view...for Pete's sake... don't bother going on the Internet!

That's just basic common sense.

Anyway, hope you all get a kick out of it too.

Quote of the Day: Eddie Izzard

One of my favorite Eddie Izzard shticks about religion.

Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist